Which Twitter features are really useful?

17 June 2016 By Northern Lights

Which Twitter features are really useful? image


Now and again you come across a listicle that has really great content and new learning – and reinforces the things you are doing. John Brandon’s 22 Twitter Power User Features to Give You a Social Media Advantage is one of these.

I shared this with our team and thought it might be useful to see which Twitter features we think are most useful in the B2B market and add our own insights – including the ones we probably should be using more!  I haven’t included all the features mentioned in this list, but do click on the blog to see them all – it has contributions from social media leaders across the industry.

  1. Use Twitter lists

We love Twitter lists (this blog tells you what they are and how to create Twitter lists).  As Halie Noble, Marketing Manager, CodeCraft School of Technology says: “Lists allow you to follow far more people in an organized way. Instead of having a ratatouille of various industry information, personal status updates and cat pictures, utilize categorized, curated news feeds created by yourself.

  1. Create a daily engagement list

The advice from Michelle Dziuban, Social Media Manager, Cision is to “Create a ‘people to engage with daily’ list and spend five minutes over your morning cup of coffee engaging, replying, liking, and retweeting. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason: Listen more. Promote less.”

We’d absolutely agree with this.  Many of our clients feel overwhelmed when starting out on Twitter and a daily engagement routine is the best way to ensure you are strategic and organised on Twitter – and include this in our blog Help! Can’t cope with Twitter!

  1. Tweet at least 3-5 tweets per day

“When it comes to Twitter, consistency is key. Don’t expect to see great numbers if you only tweet once a day. Schedule 3-5 tweets a day at various times and make sure you engage with others. Unless you’re already famous, it will require interaction with others to build a following.” says Nick Brennan, Founder & CEO, Watch Social Media


I remember when we started on Twitter years ago, I used to worry about ‘bothering’ people if we tweeted too much.  Easy to laugh now – and actually we have unfollowed people who are tweeting all day.  However, you do need to tweet several times a day to get any interactions and we use Hootsuite to schedule in some tweets to make this easier.

  1. Learn how your audience uses Twitter

This is the tip from Katie Welch, digital marketing specialist, Flowroute who says “First and foremost, know who your audience is – different audiences use Twitter at various times throughout the week. If you are focused on the B2C market, you will see your followers be more active on the weekends and for whatever reason, Wednesdays according to research. To engage the B2B audience, focus on pushing content out during the workweek, specifically in the morning when they are likely catching up on industry news and then in the evening in-between dinner and bedtime. With many tools such as Followerwonk, Audiense, or Tweriod available to you, there is no reason not to educate yourself about your followers’ habits and apply that data to your social strategy.”

Understanding your audience is as important in social media as in any form of marketing.  In our case, we do business in the Middle East, so we also take into account different cultures and public holidays – the UAE’s weekend is Friday/Saturday and Sunday is a working day.

  1. Follow the 80/20 rule for posts

“Instead of just posting tweets all about your business, follow the 80/20 rule. Make sure 80% of what you share provides value to your followers, such as an interesting news article about your industry, helpful tips and tricks or a fascinating infographic. Then, for the remaining 20%, feel free to promote your company.” – Emily Sidley, Senior Director of Publicity, Three Girls Media

My colleagues Sandy and Sue said “This is so right, there is nothing more boring than people who just talk about themselves on Twitter”.  We think about our clients and contacts and share other tweets and news items that we think will be useful to them.

  1. Use Buzzsumo for searches


This next tip is one we would like to do more, but as Sandy said, this is when you have all the time in the world!  Jason Myers, Senior Account Executive, The Content Factory says “Forget Google, the first place you should search for influencers related to your business is Buzzsumo.com. Login to the platform and start with a basic search for keywords relevant to your brand. Then find the stories that have been shared most, click ‘view sharers’ and you’ll be looking at a scalable list of accounts who are actively engaging with content related to your field. These are the people who you’ll want to add to a Twitter list (something you can easily do without leaving the platform) and engage with in a genuine way to build mutually beneficial expert/journalist relationships with.”

It’s a really good point …. Just need more time!

  1. Use hashtags


Hashtags are important and one of the best ways to get conversations going on Twitter.  Anubhuti Lalchandani, Lead Marketing and Influence, Wooqer says: “Observe the trends on Twitter for each day and post a tweet with the relevant hashtag used for the trending topic. Your tweet should connect the trend with your business. You may retweet if someone in your influencers or followers circle has tweeted on the trending topic or start you own thread. Remember the trend you pick should be relevant to your business and is of interest to your followers.”

You do need to check that the hashtag is relevant to your business – and that you get the right one.  I went to a conference last year where the hashtag was not obvious and a number of us ended up tweeting about a burlesque convention before it was picked up!

  1. Scatter scheduled posts

“Scatter your best performing tweets. The chances that someone will read your tweet at the exact moment you post it are fairly low, so take your best (or most important) content and schedule it out multiple times over several days. This increases visibility for your best tweets and is a better method than choosing specific times a day to post.” – Simon Tam, Marketing Director, Oregon Environmental Council

Getting the balance right for scattering is a bit of an art.  You don’t want people to keep seeing the same tweets in your stream, but the point is well made that the chance of someone reading your one tweet on a subject is really low.  We try to change the language of the tweets so they don’t feel repetitive.

And as my colleague Sue says, we should also go back into analytics to see when your audience is picking up most tweets.

  1. Start with an influential blog


“A good way to find Twitter thought leaders is to search for industry related blogs on Google. If you find a well written, knowledgeable article, then look up the author’s bio on the blog post. Most author bios include a link to their Twitter account. That’s how you can follow them. Make sure to Tweet their article and include their @userhandle to give them credit. This way you get on their radar, giving you an opportunity to network with them.” – Zaki Usman, CEO, InterQ

We do this all the time – searching for thought leaders is a great way to learn what’s going on in an industry and stay up to date.

  1. Recycle tweets

“Don’t be afraid to recycle old tweets. Only about 1-4% of your followers even see each tweet, let alone engage with it. If you want more followers to see more of your content, try retweeting things at different times of the day and rephrasing them if necessary.” – Austin Miller, Head of Content Marketing, Bookly.co and Editor in Chief, Pop Ramen News

We do this occasionally, but we all thought maybe this is something we should do more of.

  1. Hold a Twitter Chat to find brands

“Twitter Chats are not dead–in fact, they are one of the most direct ways you can reach your audience and peers. Think about it–a captive audience tuning in for one hour on Twitter to talk about a specific topic? A no-brainer for your clients and/or company. Tweet chats put you in direct contact with brands, influencers and others that share a common interest.” – Emily Hickey, Social Media Manager, Power Digital Marketing

There are some really great Twitter chats – one of the best is #wenurses but there are also too many promotional ones, which we don’t think are great.

  1. Get visual with tweets


“Include an image in every tweet. No excuses.” – Sarah Mitus, Digital Strategist, InkHouse Media + Marketing

It’s amazing what you can take photos of once you start doing this – photos of newspaper articles, conference brochure, events and more.  It does make your tweet stand out.

  1. Add value to a tweet that targets an influencer

“To gain more followers, start with industry influencers and your competitors.   You can use tools like BuzzSumo or Klout to find influencers and competitors. Follow people who are following and interacting with them. If these people do not follow you back, retweet or respond to a few of their tweets.  If this doesn’t work, tweet at them by adding value to their day, ex. ‘@xyz, you might like the article in NY Times–seems aligned with what you’re saying’.” – Jessica Chalk, CEO, TrafficSoda

We do this – but probably should do it more.

  1. Use TweetChat to find influencers

“Identify the top Twitter chats relevant to your industry. I have on my calendar all of the weekly or monthly Twitter chats within the marketing space and jumping into an established chat is the quick and dirty way to engage and gain a serious boost in followers. TweetChat is a free tool that helps you keep up during the session and identify the most influential participants.” – Christine Rochelle, Director of Digital Marketing, lotus823

We haven’t used this and are going to look into it.

  1. Use keyboard shortcuts

“Twitter has more than 25 keyboard shortcuts to make your experience quicker and more efficient. Some of the shortcuts include ‘G H’ for returning to the home screen, ‘R’ for reply and ‘G U’ to go to a specific user. Find all of the shortcuts by clicking on your profile picture then scrolling down to Keyboard shortcuts.” – Amy Sheridan, CEO, Blue Phoenix Media, @webvixen

Another tool we didn’t know and are now researching, thanks Amy.

So that’s what we have taken from this – and thanks to John Brandon and all the contributors.  Anything we’ve all missed here?

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Written by Northern Lights

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